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Why has Dana White reversed his decision to release Ottman Azaitar from the UFC?

Dana White (left); Ottman Azaitar (top right); Ali Abdelaziz (bottom right)
Dana White (left); Ottman Azaitar (top right); Ali Abdelaziz (bottom right)
Johny Payne
Modified 21 Feb 2021

The exact reason behind Dana White reversing his decision to release Ottman Azaitar from the UFC is currently unclear.

However, the MMA community is rife with speculation that White’s decision to give Ottman Azaitar a “second chance” might have to do with Azaitar’s representation. The Moroccan-German lightweight up-and-comer Ottman Azaitar is managed by MMA personality Ali Abdelaziz.

Khabib Nurmagomedov and Ali Abdelaziz – Did Ottman Azaitar receive a second chance courtesy of The Eagle and his manager?

Dominance MMA founder Ali Abdelaziz is perhaps best known as the manager and friend of UFC lightweight champion and MMA legend Khabib Nurmagomedov.

As reported by ESPN, UFC president Dana White has now confirmed that he has chosen to give Ottman Azaitar a “second chance”. White confirmed that Azaitar will continue fighting for the UFC.

Additionally, Ottman Azaitar’s manager Ali Abdelaziz too spoke to ESPN regarding Azaitar. Abdelaziz claimed that the entire situation was a “misunderstanding”, and he also thanked the UFC and Dana White for allowing Azaitar to stay on as a part of the UFC roster.

Furthermore, despite Dana White announcing in January 2021 that Ottman Azaitar had been released from the UFC, Azaitar was neither officially removed from the UFC roster nor was he taken off the UFC’s USADA drug-testing program.

Presently, the belief is that Ali Abdelaziz requested leniency on part of the UFC to give Ottman Azaitar a second chance. Perhaps Abdelaziz could’ve suggested that he’d work even harder than he has been to convince Khabib Nurmagomedov to return to the UFC for one more fight.

If Ali Abdelaziz does convince Khabib Nurmagomedov to return, this would grant the UFC and Dana White their wish of having the Russian legend compete in the octagon one more time – possibly in a multi-million dollar ‘money fight’ against Georges St-Pierre or Conor McGregor.


Ottman Azaitar has now put forth an Instagram post alluding to his issues with the UFC being resolved. And Khabib Nurmagomedov too has commented on the said Instagram post.

In January 2021, Dana White claimed that Ottman Azaitar had been released from the UFC

Ottman Azaitar was scheduled to face Matt Frevola at UFC 257 on January 24th, 2021, on Fight Island (Yas Island) in Abu Dhabi, UAE. UFC Fight Island is a vast COVID-19 safety bubble where the UFC has organized several events during the pandemic.


On the day of the weigh-ins, it was revealed that the undefeated lightweight prospect, Ottman Azaitar, won’t be competing at UFC 257. The reason was subsequently announced by UFC president Dana White himself.

Speaking to BT Sport, Dana White had explained that Ottman Azaitar was released from the UFC for breaching the UFC’s COVID-19 safety protocols. White stated:

“It’s pretty amazing actually…He and his team cut off their wristbands, gave them to somebody else outside the bubble, I don’t know how they even did it. That guy taped them, showed up with a bag, went into a room, shimmied across four balconies, went into his room, dropped the bag off, changed his clothes, and then left. When security tried to stop him, he wouldn’t stop. It’s bad. He’s gone, he’s no longer a UFC fighter.”

Nevertheless, as noted, Ottman Azaitar is still very much a part of the UFC. Which fighter would you like to see Azaitar face next? Sound off in the comments.

Published 21 Feb 2021, 05:07 IST
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